Cambridge continues to clean up from July 1 storm

By Rachel Kytonen

The Cambridge City Council applauded the efforts of Public Works Director Steve Wegwerth and his entire department for their work following the July 1 storm that hit Cambridge.

During the Cambridge City Council meeting Monday, July 18, Wegwerth reported the entire town has been gone through once, and some areas have been gone through twice.

Following the July 1 storm, hundreds of trees were destroyed and piles of brush were on hundreds of residential curbs.

Wegwerth said the public works department is going to “back off” for a couple of weeks to allow homeowners some more time to work on cleaning up their property.

He said public works is now working on cleaning up city parks.

“All of this work has taken away from other duties, and we need to get back to moving onto other things now,” Wegwerth said. “We are about two weeks behind now on other projects.”

Wegwerth said he is in the process of collecting invoices from contractors who were brought into the city to help with the clean-up efforts. He said he doesn’t have final figures yet, but clean up costs are estimated between $25,000-$30,000.

Wegwerth said the city will come back around again, and will take stumps that are free from the ground, but they have to be placed close enough to the curb so the public works department can grab them. He said they don’t want to have to go onto the private properties to grab them.

He also said residents can continue to bring brush to the curb and it will be picked up.

“We have had great cooperation from our residents, and they have been very complimentary and appreciate of the work everyone has been doing,” Wegwerth said.

Wegwerth also noted prior to the July 1 storm, there was a lightning strike at the Cambridge airport that took out the runway lights. He said after a two-week process, the runway lights are now working again, but only a temporary solution has resolved the problem.

He said fixing the problem will cost into the “six digit figures,” and the city will need federal and state involvement to help fix the problem.

16th Ave. SE discussion

City Administrator Lynda Woulfe explained MnDOT allows a city with a population of 5,000 or more to have up to 20 percent of its street system to be designated as state aid streets. She said MnDOT also allows when a city is turned back a road from another entity (county or state) to add this road to the state aid system above and beyond the 20 percent allotment.

Todd Blank, city engineer, in recent discussions with MnDOT regarding the adding of 16th Ave. SE to the state aid system has learned that if the area is annexed into the city, the city could be receiving approximately $11,500 annually up to the year the street is expected to be reconstructed in 2020. Once the street is reconstructed in 2020, the city will continue to generate around $1,800 annually for the next 20 years.

Woulfe explained MnDOT has given the city until Dec. 31 to  rectify this incorporation issue.

She presented three options to the council: Annex all the seven properties into the city; prepare a right-of-way plat and annex just the road portion into the city; or do nothing.

Woulfe explained following a meeting with the property owners in early June, the consensus by the property owners was to just proceed with doing the right-of-way plat and annex just the road portion into the city. Also at the council meeting, property owners again reiterated that was their position.

Following discussion, by a 4-1 vote with Councilor Bob Shogren voting against, the council decided to proceed with option 2, and move forward with preparing the right-of-way plat and annex just the road portion into the city. The council said it would need consensus within 60 days by all seven property owners to proceed with this option, and directed staff to work with the property owners.


In other action:

• Approved a conveyance of land; preliminary plat request; and conditional use permit to allow outdoor merchandise display/sales for Brad & Dad LLC. The city owned property to be conveyed is generally described as the cul-de-sac parcel to the west of Lumberland. Brad & Dad LLC are looking to remodel the existing Lumberland building and expand their sales outside, mostly to the west of the building. Permanent sidewalk display areas along the existing building and beyond are also proposed. The owners of the site have acquired the existing Lumberland site and also the lots to the west of where the existing house and garage are located. Staff noted the CUP permit application is only to review the use of the proposed outdoor merchandise display/sales with the surrounding land uses. The applicant will still be required to complete an administrative site plan review to ensure all details of the time meet the requirements of the building and city code.

• Approved a variance request, by a 4-1 vote, for River City Ministries to allow nine persons in a residential facility at 436 6th Ave S.W., for a group sober home. Mayor Marlys Palmer voted against, citing current residential code only allows six persons. She said the city should keep it at six for one year, and then review it after a year. Staff explained the nine residents figure includes one Housemaster.

• Approved a bid from Greystone Construction Co. for $261,235 to construct a public works salt shed and storage site improvements. It also approved a contract with SEH for $15,000 to perform construction related services.